Simply put: civic journalism worked. Readers and viewers got it. We learned that if you deliberately build in simple ways for people to participate — in community problems or elections — many will engage. Particularly if they feel they have something to contribute to the problem.
Jan Schaffer recalls “civic journalism” before the WWW and reminds us that it worked and is actually a precursor of “citizen journalism.” The ideas were in place, just waiting for technology to catch up.